Thursday November 14, 2019

Must-Have Free Tools for New Marketing Managers

Marketing manager using free tools on laptop

Being a marketing manager is often a multifaceted role, especially if you’re at a small to mid-sized company.

In a smaller setting, you’re typically a team of one, meaning your job description entails everything from managing campaigns to overseeing a website, content creation and a lot more.

If this describes your role, you likely have your hands full with tasks you’re familiar with and some you’re not. While there are many tools out there to help you manage your workload, many of them come with a high price tag. But staying organized and excelling in your role doesn’t require asking your boss for a big increase to the department’s budget.

With the help of a robust set of free tools, you’ll have the support of a digital “team” so that your department of one feels less isolated. These are our must-have free tools to help cover the diverse aspects of your new role.

Reporting: Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a fantastic tool to help manage your website traffic. Once you’ve gone through the steps of setting up your analytics account, Google will begin tracking key data from your website that relates to your website traffic, audience, visitor acquisition, behaviors and more. You can also set up goals and track conversions right in the tool.

The platform offers a wealth of knowledge that’s crucial for executing website optimization and analyzing campaign performance, indicating what channels are performing well, who is visiting your website and what drove them there.

If you’re new to Google Analytics, we recommend utilizing their free classes in the Analytics Academy.

Email Marketing: HubSpot Free Email

If you’ve been following along with our blog for a while you should be familiar with the name HubSpot. It’s a tool we often recommend for our clients and blog visitors alike for its CRM capabilities, email functionality, automation tools and countless integrations.

Now, HubSpot includes their email marketing tools within their free CRM, making it a more powerful tool than ever for marketing managers. With HubSpot’s free email features you can send up to 2,000 marketing emails per month with your company branding and the ability to track the open rates, click rates and more from your CRM database.

Keep in mind, for advanced email marketing design and functionality options, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid account, but as you’re just getting started the free tool is a great resource.

If you have questions about HubSpot’s various plans, including the free tools, let us know. We’re an agency partner and are happy to help you determine which plan is right for you.

Project Management: Trello

Trello is a free project management tool that can help you stay organized and on track with all of your tasks. With Trello, you can create various boards and lists, so you can truly customize it to meet your needs. For example, I use it to manage all of my client tasks as follows:

  • Boards: each client has its own board to help me stay on task. I also have a board for my personal to-do’s that includes all client and Simple Machines work.
  • Lists: my lists are divided up by in progress, awaiting client feedback, on hold, on deck and done.
  • Cards: these include the items I’m working on in each list. On the cards, I can add due dates, notes and assign them to other members of the board.

Here’s an example of what that might look like:

Sample Trello Board: free tool for new marketing managers

In addition to providing great organization tools, you can invite other members to your boards. You may choose to share your marketing board with your manager so that they can have a line of site into what you’re working on, for example.  

I personally share my individual client boards with the client so that they can always check the status of their projects or see what tasks are on their plate. That way, everyone is on the same page and knows what’s coming up.

WordPress SEO Management: Yoast SEO Plugin

The Yoast SEO plugin is a must-have tool for anyone using a WordPress website. It analyzes every page of your site to ensure they are optimized for search and engagement.

With the free version, you can benefit from:

  • Single keyword/keyphrase optimization
  • Readability checks
  • No duplicate content
  • And more

In addition, Yoast SEO offers a premium version with additional features and benefits, but the free plugin is a great starting point to optimize your website.

Social Media Management: Hootsuite

Hootsuite is free resource for marketing managers who also manage the company’s social media channels. Hootsuite offers a wide variety of plans with a range of features, with the free version allowing you to connect up to three social profiles – which means you can pre-schedule your posts for Facebook , LinkedIn and Twitter (or another mix of three profiles), without having to invest money into the platform.

With the free version, you can publish messages, monitor incoming messages, and access Hootsuite’s content apps, plus you can manage up to $100/month of boosted post spending. The platform also provides on-demand product training, so if you’re still learning the ins and outs of social media, you can watch their demos and how-to’s to help learn as you go.

One thing to keep in mind is that Hootsuite’s free platform is that this version does not incorporate their reporting capabilities, so you’ll have to do your reporting from each channel manually.

Design: Canva

You don’t need Creative Cloud to become a designer – though if you’re doing a lot of complex graphic design it’s worth looking into. Canva gives everyone the tools they need to confidently design anything from social media assets to proposals. While they have templates for nearly any project type, for print ads or direct mail pieces that require high-resolution graphics with no attribution to Canva, we recommend enlisting the help of a designer.

The free resource is great for those just getting started with designing content, plus Canva offers a pro account with extra font options, animations and their advanced photo library.

Content Creation: Free Stock Photography Websites

Free stock photography sites are crucial for marketing managers to bookmark. These sites provide ample options for photos to accompany blogs, social posts, landing pages or any additional content that doesn’t necessarily justify spending a good chunk of change on a paid stock photo or warrant its own photoshoot. Some of our favorite stock sites include:

If you use a free stock website, make sure to check the licensing requirement on each download for instructions such as requiring a link back, photo credit and whether it’s free for both commercial and personal use.

An Abundance of Tools

While being a department of one may sometimes feel like an overwhelming task, with the right set of tools you’ll be well on your way to marketing success.

For more tools we love, check out our favorites for marketing and sales, as well as our top picks for Google Chrome Extensions.

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